Staying Clean After Treatment
Ok, so a person has taken the first steps toward a better life. They have gotten treatment, turned a corner, and are now in the stages of adjusting to a drug-free life. What is it going to take for them to keep what they have found and resist all temptations back towards drug abuse? It is a complicated question, and there are no shortage of opinions and approaches to the subject. Because every person has different variables and situations, I have found that, while there is not one universal answer to this million-dollar question, there are some useful guidelines which offer a good perspective.
While keeping busy and a highly structured and supportive environment will always, in my mind, be very important, it needs to coincide with a new-found purpose in life. Overcoming drug addiction is not about white-knuckling sobriety in the hopes that the desire to drink or drug magically disappears one day, it is about finding a life that creates meaning and fulfillment. This in turn takes away the desires to use substances. For me, I was able to channel the negative impact addiction had on my life and turn it into a positive by immediately dedicating my life to helping others. I found passion in that, and by doing this it gave my past, something I once obsessively regretted, a purpose. My past failures became the experience I needed to do my job well and effectively. Not everyone will take this path, it is not always an easy field to be in. We are all passionate about something, however, and finding purpose in what we do helps give our lives added meaning, and this is what pulled me further away from drug addiction as each day passed. It comes down to working hard to find a niche that brings you fulfillment in whatever area you are driven to succeed in.
Something else happened to me as I begin to find my drive, ambition, and purpose. I started to notice how good it felt to live the way I was living. I started noticing how good it felt to feel respected again. I became aware that by hard work and a dedication to living in a way I knew was right that I no longer had to try and convince anyone that I was no longer that person they knew as a drug addict. I lived it, people saw it, and my life dramatically got better. My relationships with people, my friends and family, were no longer strained. That felt good, and the more time that passed and the better these relationships got, the more I enjoyed the life I had and the less I thought about all the bad things I had once done in my life. My bad memories were being replaced with good memories, and every bit of it could be attributed to making good decisions for my life and the people in it.
Speaking of good decisions, that is also big on the list. I am a firm believer that we all know right from wrong and when we are about to make a good or bad decision for the betterment of our lives. My problem was not in not knowing, it was in not caring. I had to get past that, and once I made a commitment to making good, sound, decisions for my life regardless of what I wanted to do, it became easier and habit forming to do just that. The more good decisions I made for my life, the more I protected myself at all costs, the easier it became to do just that.
That is basically all it came down to for me to stay clean once I was given the proper care and attention to help me through the early phases of drug dependency. I found my purpose again in a structured and supportive environment, living in a way that started to make me feel good about myself, and an intense focus on making good decisions for my life. Living this way is what helped me evolve into the person I am today, a person so removed from my life as an addict that I sometimes forget how bad my life had once become. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.